[caption id="attachment_255353" align="aligncenter" width="700"]
After the BJP came out with flying colours in two of the five states that went for assembly elections this year, fresh calls are emerging for a joint front against the BJP.
The very first call for a grand alliance has come from the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who was the main beneficiary of a similar alliance in the 2015 Assembly elections. The inability of the various parties to get together in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh for last month’s elections has prompted the move with the aim of taking on the BJP led National Democratic Alliance in the 2019 general elections.
Also Read: Everyone Knows Democracy Has Been Sacrificed For A Family, Modi Takes Dig At Rahul
It is very clear that the Congress victory in Punjab was in spite of the party high command in Delhi. Even after the attempts by few central leaders to pull down Capt Amarinder Singh and not allow him to have a free hand in selecting the candidates, Singh managed to carve out a grand victory for the party in the state.
Also Read: PM Modi Dubs Vote-Spliters As ‘Pickpockets Of Democracy’ During Rally In Goa
It is a fact that with the current leadership at the Centre, the Congress Party cannot hope for a revival in the near future. Aam Aadmi Party, which initially looked a little promise, too has failed to open its account outside Delhi. In this changed scenario, the erstwhile Third Front would now become the Joint Front with the Congress, various regional parties and the Left Front joining hands.
The CPM and CPI leaders met in New Delhi off late and considered options for joining the Joint Front. The Left parties were supporting the Congress in the past and had extended support to the UPA-1 under Manmohan Singh. However, they had withdrawn support to the then government soon after the Indo-US Nuclear deal.
This time Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi seems to have taken the responsibility to speak to the Left leaders for having an alliance. He had hailed the Left Front for its proposal to form a Joint Front and had impressed upon its leaders the need for unity in the face of the Hindutva agenda being imposed by the BJP. The appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of UP is seen to be the latest example of the RSS-BJP agenda to push for Hindutva.
Other than Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, there are many strong regional party chiefs who enjoy immense support in their areas. These are West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, Telengana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, former UP chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati. Former UP chief ministers Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav too have a stronghold in several areas despite the SP’s defeat in the assembly polls. Many other regional parties like the DMK and NCP, might also come along.
However, what remains to be seen is that how will all these parties and leaders unite themselves on a common platform and bury their ideological differences and accept anyone amidst them to lead this Joint Front. This seems an uphill task for all these parties as for example, Mamata’s Trinamool Congress can’t see eye to eye with the Left Front. Similarly, the SP and the BSP are again arch rivals. Will such differences be done away with a common agenda? I have my doubts…but still would like to keep my fingers crossed.
On one hand it is very essential for any thriving democracy to have a healthy opposition to keep the government on watch, on the other hand the opposition must also be able to garner respect and credibility. None of the opposition parties can hope of being victorious if their aim is just to grab power. In order to keep the government on its toes, the opposition has to overcome the inherent contradictions and develop consensus on a respected leader to lead the front.
As of now it is evident that there is no stopping for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is hardly anyone, neither from inside BJP or outside the party, who poses a challenge for Modi. It is only the disregard for the democratic norms and the forceful implementation of Hindutva agenda at the cost of other communities and beliefs can pose a danger to him and his party. The need of the hour is an effective opposition, which is nowhere to be seen as of now. An effective and respectable front can be able to keep the Modi government on check- and keep our country’s ‘democracy intact and help it in growing the right way!